Weight Gain and the Third Trimester

Before getting pregnant I weighed 9 stone and 10lbs (138lbs/62kg). In terms of my weight I would always creep up to 10 stone, hit the gym and eat right so I lost a few pounds and stayed there until it happened again. I have always hated the gym and never really stuck to a diet, I love ham and cheese sandwiches too much. Before getting pregnant I was happy with my weight but would say that my 'love handles' could do with not being around. I think as I got older and my body became curvier, love handles was just part of that package and wasn't necessarily fat but 'womanly curves' - or at least that's what I would tell myself. I loved how pregnancy made all that round out and that my love handles disappeared into my baby bump. 

At the end of my pregnancy, baring in mind I only made it to 35 weeks, I weighed 12 stone and 3lbs. Almost 3 stone of weight gain!! I definitely didn't feel 3 stone heavier, other than of course the giant baby bump. I never realised how much weight I gained in my face until I look back on photos of me at my babyshower and any photos I took while I was heavily pregnant, from the front. I had a really, round, puffy face. 

I would apply bio oil and body butter to my boobs and my bump as these were the two parts of my body growing at an alarming rate. I've been told stretch marks are genetic and creams can reduce the severity of stretch marks but not prevent them all together. Despite this, I didn't get a single stretch mark on my boobs or my stomach! I was so happy. Until I looked in the mirror a couple of weeks postpartum and saw the stretch marks I'd gained at the top of my bum!! I must've grown myself a Kim K ass during pregnancy without realising.        

I think weight gain is really alarming during pregnancy but it all came into context when I saw this diagram on Pinterest: 

   The last trimester there is no other way to describe it, other than you feel BIG. You feel uncomfortable, everything you wear makes you look huge, picking things up off the floor requires so much effort, you need to pee a hundred times a day and all through the night. It takes so long to get comfortable at night because you're twice the size you used to be and can't curl up in the fetal position anymore. In the middle of Winter I was sleeping in my underwear because my body temperature was on fire. During pregnancy you have so much more blood regulating in your body you become a human oven.

When it was mentioned at my midwife appointments that the baby's head was engaged, I got a really soft pocket of skin, it looked like pure flab, just above my pant line. I remember thinking 'Oh my God, that's the bit that will stay when the baby's come out and I'll have this flab there forever.' But, after posting on my Facebook group saying did anyone else have it, it's just where theres a dip between muscle and baby as the baby has engaged. Rest assured, that flabby bit has gone. I never knew to expect that or what it was.

 Can you see the saggy skin just above my pant line? It was totally bizzare! 

Can you see the saggy skin just above my pant line? It was totally bizzare! 

I had a really obvious 'linea nigra' which is a random brown pigmented line that runs down the centre of your bump. My belly button had gone completely flat. My boobs were spilling out of every bra I owned. Jeans became so uncomfortable as the denim would hug all the wrong places. 

The final weeks the baby moves so much it can be so off-putting. I remember being at a few meals with friends and family and just wanting to go home because I was being stabbed in the ribs by the baby kicking. Suddenly, your belly becomes really uncomfortable to sit up right as your boobs are basically balancing on your bump and the way you naturally slouch your back while sitting on a dining chair, everything feels so smashed down and compressed. All you want is to be at home starfishing in your bed. My face in this picture is exactly how I felt - BLEUGH.

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I also had a crazy huge vein that appeared in my leg that stayed throughout my pregnancy which was totally random. It never caused me any pain but was such a bright blue in colour and really dominated my whole leg!!! 

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After having Oscar I was really impressed with the way I looked which is something I think I can hand to my age. The photos above are when he was a week old. I still looked about 16 weeks pregnant. The bit I HATED was the consistency of my stomach. Lying down it looked pretty normal but standing up I was able to grab handfuls of flab that wobbled like jelly and had serious stomach cellulite. It was so much loose skin. 

For some reason, after I had the baby, my stomach was SO brown. I had gotten a tan whilst on holiday pregnant and my theory is that it tanned the skin whilst it was stretched to a light tan, and when that skin was realised and condensed it became a much more concentrated area of pigment so was really dark. My belly button also sank right back in and MAN, did it need a clean! There was so much dirt in there it was horrendous! 

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6 months later and through breastfeeding, housework, having an un quenchable thirst and no appetite, I now weigh less than I did before I got pregnant. I have my age and breastfeeding to thank for that. I still have stretch marks at the top of my bum that have faded from a dark purple to white and the jelly belly has gone! You can definitely tell my hips have gotten so much wider since becoming pregnant so I don't think the muffin top will be going anywhere soon - I think that's just me now!

 Hips before pregnancy vs hips after pregnancy

Hips before pregnancy vs hips after pregnancy

I think the timing of my pregnancy was coincidentally perfect. It is just coming into bikini season as Oscar turns 6 months old meaning I had a few months of cold to hide under my maternity leggings and big jumpers. I managed to squeeze into my old jeans 6 weeks later but definitely not well enough that I could wear them out as I had literally sucked myself in using the zip and the high-waisted fabric was too tight on my tender c-section area. But I got them on and wore them for 5 seconds which was an achievement for me! 

 4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

 4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum  (Note the linea nigra has disappeared- the line down my stomach) 

4 weeks postpartum vs 23 weeks postpartum

(Note the linea nigra has disappeared- the line down my stomach) 

I think this post is very specific to perhaps my age or someone of my original frame. I definitely cannot speak for everyone as all women are different and gain and lose weight totally different. My dietician has recently told me I need to eat more cheese and yoghurts to replace the lack of dairy I consume as I don't drink cow's milk. I am happy to do so as not only do I love cheese, but I would do anything to make sure Oscar is getting the best milk. Just remember, your baby comes first, your stretch marks mark your journey and what's a little extra weight on your bones when it brought you the most precious gift of your life?

I definitely count myself lucky that I am able to feel good in my skin and the only stretch marks I gained lie under a bikini. Even when I was feeling low about my jelly belly, Oscar was definitely worth it. I think had I not 'bounced back' I would probably just become a baby machine and have another straight away as I wouldn't have much to lose. I'm dubious I won't be so lucky with baby number 2 and may ruin my body and still be unmarried. I'm desperate to walk down the aisle in the shape that I am incase baby number 2 takes over with a vengeance and I never get my size 10 wedding day.

Whatever happens with your weight, get out there and don't let it stop you from doing anything. There are all shapes and sizes when it comes to Mums and no Mum will judge another as she knows exactly what her body has been through. So, join a baby swimming class, go walking with the stroller in a summer dress. Flaunt it sister, your body created a human being.